The start of a brand new college football season is mere days away for Penn State and Purdue. With a Thursday night Big Ten opener, there is little time to waste to make sure everything is in working order for both teams, and the head coaches of both programs know they have their hands full in the Week 1 contest in West Lafayette.
Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm not-so-fondly remembers his last experience coaching against Penn State, and knows that this year’s contest will be a good measuring stick opportunity out of the gate.
“As I said before, we played them three years ago, and it was 21-0 before we blinked, and we had to fight and scrap just to not get blown off the field,” Brohm said on Monday, alluding to Penn State’s 35-7 in Beaver Stadium in 2019. Penn State has won the last nine meetings in the series coming into the 2022 season. “This will really test us and see where we really stand right off the bat, but that’s why we play the game.
Brohm took some time in his opening comments during his Monday press conference to run through a scouting report of what he sees in Penn State. He started his focus with the Penn State defense, specifically returning defensive tackle PJ Mustipher.
“They didn’t have their best player on the D-line in the bowl game, No. 97, who is definitely a force,” Brohm said, referring to Mustipher missing the bowl game with his season-ending injury suffered earlier in the season. “He’s somebody we’re going to have to account for at all times because he’s one of the best in the country, in our opinion.”
Brohm then shifted his attention to Penn State’s secondary, which many believe will once again be a strength of the defense for the Nittany Lions.
“They have a veteran secondary. Safety played a lot of football, is instinctive, makes a lot of plays, No. 16,” Brohm said, referring to safety Ji’Ayir Brown, who led the team in interceptions in 2021. “He’s all over the field.”
Two corners that have experience, No. 9, No. 4,” Brohm then continued, alluding to Joey Porter Jr. and sophomore Kalen King. “No. 9 is big, long, can play football, and the other one does a very good job as well.”
Brohm clearly paid attention to Penn State’s most recent game, the Outback Bowl loss to Arkansas, but he didn’t seem to think the Razorbacks did anything particularly special that could help Purdue’s game planning out a bit.
“As you even just watch the last football game they played, the bowl game, really Arkansas didn’t do anything in the passing game,” Brohm explained. “It was a bunch of quarterback run stuff they were able to succeed with. That’s how they found a way to win.”
Finally, Brohm took note of the potential playmakers Penn State could have on offense, alluding to the veteran leadership of quarterback Sean Clifford, the receiving duo of Parker Washington and Mitchell Tinsley (who transferred from Brohm’s previous schools, Western Kentucky), the tight end combination of Theo Johnson and Brenton Strange, and the running back leaders Keyvone Lee and Nick Singleton.
“On offense, they have really good tight ends, really good running backs, and the quarterback has a ton of experience, and a couple good receivers,” Brohm said. “We’re going to have our hands full there and really play a good solid brand of football in order to win.”
Penn State and Purdue kick off the new season on Thursday, September 1 at 8:00 p.m. ET on FOX.
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